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Disability Treaty Downed by GOP Opposition

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Disability Treaty Downed By Republican Opposition

By JIM ABRAMS 12/04/12 07:10 PM ET EST AP

 

WASHINGTON -- Led by Republican opposition, the Senate on Tuesday rejected a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled that is modeled after the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.

With 38 Republicans casting "no" votes, the 61-38 vote fell five short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify a treaty. The vote took place in an unusually solemn atmosphere, with senators sitting at their desks rather than milling around the podium. Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, looking frail and in a wheelchair, was in the chamber to support the treaty.

The treaty, already signed by 155 nations and ratified by 126 countries, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, states that nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens. Republicans objected to taking up a treaty during the lame-duck session of the Congress and warned that the treaty could pose a threat to U.S. national sovereignty.

"I do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with anti-American biases that infringe upon American society," said Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.

He and other opponents were not swayed by support for the treaty from some of the GOP's prominent veterans, including the 89-year-old Dole, who was disabled during World War II; Sen. John McCain, who also suffered disabling injuries in Vietnam; Sen. Dick Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee; and former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Eight Republicans voted to approve the treaty.

The treaty also was widely backed by the disabilities community and veterans groups.

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the vote disappointing and noted that President Barack Obama had declared, in a written statement read in tribute to Dole just before the vote, that "disability rights should not stop at our nation's shores."

Carney said the White House hopes the treaty can be reconsidered in the next Congress.

Democratic support for the convention was led by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, one of the key players in writing the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

"It really isn't controversial," Kerry, D-Mass., said. "What this treaty says is very simple. It just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled. It says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years ago when we set the example for the world and passed the Americans with Disabilities Act."

In a statement after the vote, Kerry said it was "one of the saddest days I've seen in almost 28 years in the Senate and it needs to be a wake-up call about a broken institution that's letting down the American people."

The ADA put the United States in the forefront of efforts to secure equal rights for the disabled, and it became the blueprint for the U.N. treaty, formally the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The treaty was negotiated by the George W. Bush administration. It was completed in 2006 and Obama signed it in 2009.

The United Nations estimates that 650 million people around the world are disabled, about 10 percent of the world's population.

Kerry and other backers stressed that the treaty requires no changes in U.S. law, that a committee created by the treaty to make recommendations has no power to change laws and that the treaty cannot serve as a basis for a lawsuit in U.S. courts.

They said the treaty, by encouraging other countries to emulate the rights and facilities for the disabled already existing in the United States, would be of benefit for disabled Americans, particularly veterans, who want to work, travel or study abroad.

Supporters also rejected the argument that it was inappropriate to consider an international treaty in a post-election lame-duck session. They said that since the 1970s the Senate had voted to approve treaties 19 times during lame-duck sessions.

But in September, 36 Republican senators signed a letter saying they would not vote for any treaty during the lame duck,

The opposition was led by tea party favorite Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who argued that the treaty by its very nature threatened U.S. sovereignty. Specifically he expressed concerns that the treaty could lead to the state, rather than parents, determining what was in the best interest of disabled children in such areas as home schooling, and that language in the treaty guaranteeing the disabled equal rights to reproductive health care could lead to abortions. Parents, Lee said, will "raise their children with the constant looming threat of state interference."

Supporters said such concerns were unfounded.

"I am frankly upset," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., "that they have succeeded in scaring the parents who home-school their children all over this country." He said he said his office had received dozens of calls from home-schooling parents urging him to vote against the convention.

The conservative Heritage Action for America urged senators to vote no against the treaty, saying it would be recorded as a key vote on their scorecard. It repeated the argument that the treaty "would erode the principles of American sovereignty and federalism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/disability-treaty_n_2238181.html

 

by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 7:53 AM
Replies (21-30):
Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting UgtaBkdnMe:

We have the ADA why do we need this too?




We also have women rights, doesn't mean we shouldn't sign our name on a paper with multiple other countries to show that we want the same for every woman in the world.
Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:25 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting ILive4This:

With 38 Republicans casting "no" votes

support for the treaty from some of the GOP's prominent veterans, including the 89-year-old Dole, who was disabled during World War II; Sen. John McCain, who also suffered disabling injuries in Vietnam; Sen. Dick Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee; and former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh. Eight Republicans voted to approve the treaty.

How interesting that most of the 8 out of 46 Republicans who went against their party line to support the treaty were heavy weights (or those not facing re-election) who could afford to vote on principle.

Clairwil
by Ruby Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:28 PM
Quoting erika9009:

If it comes from the UN, it should be an automatic "NO".

This organization has mutated into the self perpetuating monster.

With an attitude like that, is it any wonder why other countries tend to look askance at the American Republican party?

You're a diplomatic disaster that ruins America's reputation and influence, for points in petty internal squabbles.

macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:43 PM

While I can agree that other countries should do the same, how is us signing this treaty going to make anything happen.  We need to focus on our economic issues and differences right now, not what other countries choose to do for their citizens.

Quoting UpSheRises:


Quoting macbudsmom:

This is silly and unnecessary.  As a country, we already have plenty of ways that we support the disabled and provide them necessary accomodations.


Right, so what is wrong with agreeing that other countries should do the same? Do you understand that it was only an agreement?


UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 3:52 PM
1 mom liked this

It provides direction and best practices for other countries, where other human beings just like us live. Just because we are having economic problems doesn't mean we can't do anything else. I'm broke and i do all kinds of things other than worry about money, KWIM?

They wasted more time and energy bitching about it than it would have taken to sign it and move on so if it's an issue of time, apparently the republicans think we've got plenty to waste.

Quoting macbudsmom:

While I can agree that other countries should do the same, how is us signing this treaty going to make anything happen.  We need to focus on our economic issues and differences right now, not what other countries choose to do for their citizens.

Quoting UpSheRises:

 

Quoting macbudsmom:

This is silly and unnecessary.  As a country, we already have plenty of ways that we support the disabled and provide them necessary accomodations.


Right, so what is wrong with agreeing that other countries should do the same? Do you understand that it was only an agreement?

 


macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:13 PM
1 mom liked this

a) They can simply look at what we already have set up if they'd like any guidance or suggestions.

b)  We already have too many countries and people suggesting that the US puts their two cents in too much.

Quoting UpSheRises:

It provides direction and best practices for other countries, where other human beings just like us live. Just because we are having economic problems doesn't mean we can't do anything else. I'm broke and i do all kinds of things other than worry about money, KWIM?

They wasted more time and energy bitching about it than it would have taken to sign it and move on so if it's an issue of time, apparently the republicans think we've got plenty to waste.

Quoting macbudsmom:

While I can agree that other countries should do the same, how is us signing this treaty going to make anything happen.  We need to focus on our economic issues and differences right now, not what other countries choose to do for their citizens.

Quoting UpSheRises:


Quoting macbudsmom:

This is silly and unnecessary.  As a country, we already have plenty of ways that we support the disabled and provide them necessary accomodations.


Right, so what is wrong with agreeing that other countries should do the same? Do you understand that it was only an agreement?




CoachDee
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Almost every Republican right now lives in fear of being "primaried" from the right.  This is exactly the sort of issue a Tea Party type could pound away with and convince Republican primary voters, who tend to be the extreme right wing of the party, that a standard, right leaning Republican is about a step and half away from being a Socialist! 

This is how Democrats are getting elected in normally Republican states, like the Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana, because the Republicans nominate whackos.  The problem now is that reasonable Republicans (and I do believe some still exist) are afraid one of those whackos will run against them and win in a primary, so they have to cast votes like this! 

Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM


Quoting eema.gray:

What I got from a friend who has 3 special needs kids, is there was a concern that the U.N. act would allow governments to dictate how special needs children are raised and trump parental decisions such as chosing to treat behavioral disturbances with food and supplements rather than medication.  I DO NOT know if this concern is waranted, it's just what she mentioned.

this is my understading as well

6Fish
by Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM
1 mom liked this

The United States ratifying this resolution has absolutely NO effect on whether or not other countries would obey it.  There is an amendment to our Constitution that mandates that any ratified treaty becomes the law of the land, and overrules any other laws.  As some have already said, we have the ADA.  We do not need the UN stepping in to tell us, as private American citizens, how we can and cannot care for our children with special needs.  There ARE countries in this world who do not take care of their disabled citizens, and they are the countries at which this resolution should be targeted.  However, most of those countries do not have laws which require that ratified UN resolutions should become the supreme law of their land.  When those countries "ratify" this resolution, they do so in "name only."  The do not implement it, or obey it, and there is essentially nothing the UN can do about it. 

The Republicans are not heartless bastards who don't care about handicapped people.  They are simply trying to protect the rights of our citizens as indivduals, and the rights of the United States as a soveriegn nation to create its own laws and not be governed by an international body that thinks it knows best.

cjsix
by Bronze Member on Dec. 6, 2012 at 5:54 PM

 

Quoting eema.gray:

What I got from a friend who has 3 special needs kids, is there was a concern that the U.N. act would allow governments to dictate how special needs children are raised and trump parental decisions such as chosing to treat behavioral disturbances with food and supplements rather than medication.  I DO NOT know if this concern is waranted, it's just what she mentioned.

 eema,your friend is correct! This treaty would have allowed the goverment US or International to decide what your child needs and can have as far as medical care etc... it also would effect adults who are disabled. This Treaty would have superceeded the laws of the United States. We would no longer answer to our own laws which are in place already to protect and take care of the disabled but,to those which other countries feel are appropriate for us.

Please look up the treaty itself and read it...there is much in it that those in favor of passing it do not want us to know.

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